Facebook quietly updated two key numbers about its user base

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
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Adnan Abidi/Reuters

    Facebook quietly increased its number of estimated duplicate accounts from 6% to 10%. Estimated fake accounts were raised to 2-3% from 1%. The updated estimates will affect Facebook’s tool for advertisers.

Hidden within Facebook’s blockbuster third-quarter earnings on Wednesday are two important numbers the company quietly updated.

10% of Facebook’s 2.07 billion monthly users are now estimated to be duplicate accounts, up from 6% estimated previously. The social network’s number of fake accounts, or accounts not associated with a real account, increased from 1% to 2-3%.

In its earnings release shared with investors, Facebook said the changes were due to “a new methodology for duplicate accounts that included improvements to the data signals we rely on.”

While a relatively small percentage of Facebook’s massive user base, the 10% figure means that there are now roughly 207 million duplicate accounts and as many as 60 million fake accounts on the network.

The same methodology updates will be used to improve the accuracy of Facebook’s tools for advertisers, according to a source familiar with the matter. The improved accuracy should specifically affect Facebook’s estimates for the number of real people it can reach with an advertiser’s campaign, the source said.